A bunion, also called a hallux valgus, is a bony bump that forms on the metatarsophalangeal joint where the big toe meets the foot. Bunions develop slowly over time. Pressure on the big toe joint causes the big toe to push against the second toe. Over time, the enlarged joint causes the bone structure of the big toe to change, resulting in a bunion bump. This anatomical deformity will gradually increase and can make it painful to wear shoes or walk.

  • Poorly fitting shoes: shoes that are too tight and shoes with narrow, pointed toes force the toes into unnatural positions.
  • Heredity: some people are more likely to develop bunions as the result of the anatomical shape and structure of their feet.
  • Joint disease: rheumatoid arthritis can cause inflammatory conditions that affect the joints in your feet.
  • Persistent pain and tenderness
  • Swelling, redness, and inflammation around the big toe
  • Hardened skin on the bottom of the foot
  • Corns or calluses – often occur where the first and second toes overlap
  • Restricted movement or stiffness of the big toe

Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the bunions and the amount of pain it is causing.Conservative, non-surgical treatment includes:

  • Changing shoes: wear comfortable, proper fitting shoes that provide plenty of space for your toes.
  • Shoe inserts: padded shoe inserts, such as orthotics, can help distribute pressure evenly across the foot, which helps reduce symptoms and prevents bunions from getting worse.
  • Taping or splinting: can be used to hold your foot in a normal position, which can reduce stress on the bunion and relieve pain.
  • Medications: over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and pain medication can help treat symptoms.
  • Apply ice: icing a bunion after being on your feet too long can relieve soreness and inflammation.

Surgical options can be considered if conservative treatment fails to provide relief from your symptoms, or if painful symptoms are interfering with your daily activities.Surgical procedures for bunions might involve:

  • Removing swollen tissue from around the big toe.
  • Straightening the big toe by removing part of the bone.
  • Realigning the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint to straighten the abnormal angle caused by the bunion.
  • Fusing the bones of the affected joint.